The moment seemed frozen. I could sense every detail. The rough ropes holding me to one of the many large rocks that rose up out of the ground. The sharp, small piece of whatever poking into my back. The shagginess of the gag in my mouth that tasted faintly of beef. Sulfur also settled on the edge of my tongue, driving me crazy. The smells of burning cars, sulfur, and cooking macaroni and cheese swirling around me were almost friendly, trying to get up my nose, and succeeding, causing my nose to tickle. The sudden cry that had left my lips a millisecond before was swept away in the howling winds around the mouth of the volcano. My bow and quiver of arrows rested nearby on the ground, along with my knife and Nico’s sword. I saw the looming shapes of the giant spikes of rock rising out of the ground, and the beginning of a dark rock road in my peripheral vision. But the main thing I was focused on was Nico, who was falling in was seemed like super slow motion towards the steaming, bubbling lava inside the volcano. His expression seemed shocked, or it looked like it in the few seconds before I thought I would last see him. And it was then, and only then, that I realized that I loved Nico. Not like the friend I had loved these past few years, but the love kind of love. The love that you loved with every fiber of your being. And here the person to whom I had rewarded that was being murdered before my very eyes.